Effects of Brexit on International Students in the United Kingdom
Brexit is a portmanteau of ‘British’ and ‘exit’. It is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). A referendum was held on June 30th, 2016 in which 51.9 per cent of those voting supported leaving the EU. The invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union started a two-year process which was due to conclude with the UK’s exit on March 25th, 2019. A deadline was extended to April 12th, then May 22nd. It has now been extended to October 31st, 2019 according to the BBC. This is capable of causing ripple effects in many ways. Today we’re particularly concerned about the possible Brexit Effects on International Students.
The UK has been a member of the European Union since 1973. The UK had benefitted from its relationship with the union until a debate to leave the EU in 2016. This decision has not only shaken the world economy but also rattled the higher education system across Europe. There is almost one in five international students in higher education in the UK, with more than half of postgraduates being international students. Moreover, according to a London Economics report, international students spend over £22.6 billion (US$29.9 billion) and EU students spend GB£5.1 billion (US$6.7 billion) in universities in the UK. So let’s look at the possible Brexit effects on international students.
International students will also be referred to as ‘International Students from outside the EU/EEA’. Peradventure UK agrees to stay within the European single market, the chances that European students will continue to be treated the same way as British students is high. The implication will be being charged lower tuition fees. This is a possible ‘Soft Brexit’ effect. On the other hand, the ‘hard Brexit’ effect will be European students categorized to be in the same status as international students outside Europe.
For international students, Brexit will likely not have an impact on your plans to study in the UK. Your visa requirements and tuition fees will most definitely remain the same. There are permutations that the UK will go hard on international students in the long run. However, experts are optimistic it will not prevent international students from having the opportunity to harness the potentials in the UK educational system.
It is expected that the effect of Brexit will be felt in tuition fees giving the fact that the UK will no longer enjoy economic advantages as a member of the EU. The need to improve the economy, raise taxes and other levies will most likely be considered. Since European students will be no longer be seen as domestic British students, tuition fees will be increased. This will directly have an impact on European students on a large scale. Effects of which will be depriving students of EU countries the advantage of studying in the UK. This, in turn, could limit the number of EU students, who desire to study in the UK.
Universities are bracing themselves for the impact of a no-deal Brexit. There are concerns that U.K. students would no longer be funded to study at European universities under the Erasmus scheme in the event of no deal.
European students from the EU are most likely on the receiving end of Brexit. They will need a student visa to enter and study in the UK. There have been debates on the need to restrict immigration. It is projected that upon implementation of the Brexit, EU students will not find it as easy coming into the UK as they used to.
Teaching and Research
The UK could lose billions of dollars and expertise if Brexit becomes a reality in totality. European professors and researchers could be restricted from entering into the UK as a result of possible new regulations on immigration.
Currently, the United Kingdom is ranked second in the world for its international higher education system. It is predicted that UK universities could drop in world university rankings as a result of the implementation of Brexit in its totality. In the long run, the quality of education might reduce due to the limitation of border European scholars and its possible impact on education. Furthermore, international students might not see the UK as a choice destination to further their academic pursuits.
However, international students who are passionate about studying in the UK against the odds Brexit tends to present, are to ensure they follow trends on the subject matter and constantly check university websites and immigration web pages to be properly guided. This will prevent you from being frustrated and possibly give you an advantage while applying for a UK study visa or applying to study at a British university.